Jeremiah 5

1The Lord says,˼ “Walk the streets of Jerusalem. Look around and think about these things. Search the public squares of the city. See if you can find one good person, one person that does honest things, one that searches for the truth. If you find one good person, I will forgive Jerusalem! 2The people make promises and say, 'As the Lord lives.’ But they don’t really mean it.” 3Lord, I know that you want people to be loyal to you. You hit the people of Judah, but they did not feel any pain. You destroyed them, but they refused to learn their lesson. They became very stubborn. They refused to be sorry for the bad things they did. 4But I ˻(Jeremiah)˼ said to myself, ”It must be only the poor people that are so foolish. Poor people have not learned the way of the Lord. Poor people don’t know the teachings of their God. 5So I will go to the leaders of Judah. I will talk to them. Surely the leaders know the way of the Lord. I am sure they know the law of their God.” But the leaders had all joined together to break away from serving the Lord. 6They turned against God, so a lion from the forest will attack them. A wolf from the desert will kill them. A leopard is hiding near their cities. The leopard will tear to pieces any person that comes out of the city. This will happen because the people of Judah have sinned again and again. They have wandered away from the Lord many times. 7˻God said,˼ ”Judah, give me one good reason why I should forgive you. Your children have abandoned me. They made promises to idols And those idols are not really gods! I gave your children everything they needed. But they still were unfaithful to me! They spent much time with prostitutes. 8They are like horses that have had plenty to eat and are ready to mate. They are like a horse that is calling its neighbor’s wife. 9Should I punish the people of Judah for doing these things?” This message is from the Lord. “Yes! You know I should punish a nation that lives like that. I will give them the punishment that they deserve. 10“Go along the rows of Judah’s grapevines. Cut down the vines. (But don’t completely destroy them.) Cut off all their branches. Why? Because they don’t belong to the Lord. 11The family of Israel and the family of Judah have been unfaithful to me in every way.” This message is from the Lord. 12“Those people have lied about the Lord. They have said, 'The Lord will not do anything to us. Nothing bad will happen to us. We will never see an army attack us. We will never starve.’ 13“The ˻false˼ prophets are only empty wind. The word of God is not in them. Bad things will happen to them.” 14The Lord God All-Powerful said these things: “Those people said I would not punish them. So Jeremiah, the words I give you will be like fire. And those people will be like wood. That fire will burn them up completely! 15Family of Israel, this message is from the Lord, “I will soon bring a nation from far away to attack you. It is an old nation. It is an ancient nation. The people of that nation speak a language that you don’t know. You can’t understand what they say. 16Their arrow bags are like open graves. All of their men are strong soldiers. 17Those soldiers will eat all the crops that you gathered. They will eat all of your food. They will eat ˻(destroy)˼ your sons and daughters. They will eat your flocks and your herds. They will eat your grapes and your figs. They will destroy your strong cities with their swords. They will destroy the strong cities that you trust in! 18This message is from the Lord, “But Judah, when those terrible days come, I will not fully destroy you. 19The people of Judah will ask you, 'Jeremiah, why has the Lord our God done this bad thing to us?’ Give them this answer: 'You people of Judah have left the Lord, and you have served foreign idols in your own land. You did those things, so now you will serve foreigners in a land that doesn’t belong to you.’” 20˻The Lord said,˼ “Tell this message to the family of Jacob. Tell this message in the nation of Judah: 21Hear this message. You foolish people have no sense: 'You have eyes, but you don’t see! You have ears, but you don’t listen!’ 22Surely you are afraid of me.’” This message is from the Lord. ”You should shake with fear in front of me. I am the One who made the beaches to be a boundary for the sea. I made it that way to keep the water in its place forever. The waves may pound the beach, but they will not destroy it. The waves may roar as they come in, but they can’t go beyond the beach. 23But the people of Judah are stubborn. They are always planning ways to turn against me. They turned away from me and left me. 24The people of Judah never say to themselves, 'Let’s fear and respect the Lord our God. He gives us autumn and spring rains at just the right time. He makes sure that we have the harvest at just the right time.’ 25People of Judah, you have done wrong. So the rains and the harvest have not come. Your sins have kept you from enjoying those good things from the Lord. 26There are evil men among my people. Those evil men are like men that make nets for catching birds. These men set their traps, But they catch men instead of birds. 27The houses of these evil men are full of lies, like a cage full of birds. Their lies made them rich and powerful. 28They have grown big and fat ˻from the evil things they have done˼. There is no end to the evil things they do. They will not plead the case of children that have no parents. They will not help those orphans. They will not let poor people be judged fairly. 29Should I punish the people of Judah for doing these things?” This message is from the Lord. “You know that I should punish a nation such as this. I should give them the punishment that they deserve.” 30˻The Lord says,˼ ”A terrible and shocking thing has happened in the land of Judah. 31The prophets tell lies. The priests will not do what they were chosen to do. And my people love it this way! But what will you people do when your punishment comes?”

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